Celebrating 300 years

The glitz and glamour of the Grand Ball took centre stage at Freemasons’ Hall on Saturday 30th September

Held in honour of the United Grand Lodge of England’s Tercentenary, over 2,000 Freemasons and their partners and guests from across the country attended this lavish event.

Freemasons' Hall was transformed as part of the celebration, with a big band performance by the Oxford University Jazz Orchestra in the Grand Temple, which had been converted into one of the largest raised dancefloors in London.

Other musicians and entertainers performed throughout the building alongside ‘silent’ and normal discos and a casino, which ran long into the night.

Published in UGLE
Tuesday, 12 September 2017 00:00

Grand Secretary's column - Autumn 2017

From the Grand Secretary

Normally, July and August are quiet months in which we relax and prepare ourselves for the new masonic season ahead. Such a period of calm has been noticeably absent this year, however, as you will discover by reading this issue of Freemasonry Today.

Your Rulers have been particularly busy travelling the globe to support our District activities, as well as enjoying the many events throughout England and Wales, which have been so successful through your hard work. These events may not have been relaxing, but they have certainly been reinvigorating.

I know the Masonic Charitable Foundation would wish me to thank you for your efforts in getting people to vote for the recipients of 300 grants totalling £3 million in celebration of our 300 years and the charity’s foundation. Over 177,000 votes were cast, of which more than 85 per cent were from non-masons. It has been a really positive and successful way of engaging with the community at large, and the charity will shortly be announcing the 300 fortunate beneficiaries of its grants.

We now eagerly anticipate the Grand Ball on 30 September and the culmination of our Tercentenary celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall on 31 October in a successful year that bodes well for the future.

CLUBBING TOGETHER

In this autumn issue of Freemasonry Today, we look forward to building upon our strong foundations with the Essex Cornerstone Club. Mixing social with community and educational events, the club has already attracted 150 younger members from the masonic community in Essex. Hosting activities ranging from paintball and family days to charity runs, the founding members are now exploring how technology could help create a national or even international network of young Freemasons.

Of course, innovation isn’t the sole property of younger people. Our piece on Music in Hospitals reveals how live music can spark important memories and emotions for the elderly. We travel to a care home in Surrey to see jazz musician Phoebe Gorry performing to a captivated audience. Thanks to the latest funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the initiative is being rolled out in care homes across the country, allowing staff to have a more detailed understanding of their residents and provide improved levels of care.

For Freemason Iestyn Llewellyn, the immediate future will be spent pounding the streets as he aims to complete four marathons to mark his 40th birthday. Our profile on Iestyn reveals how he was inspired to push himself beyond his comfort zone when he discovered Daisy’s Dream, a charity providing support and advice for children facing the news of the terminal illness or death of a loved one.

Being a mason has allowed Iestyn to mix with like-minded people in an environment where he feels he belongs. While the work his lodge does for charity is crucial, it’s the brotherly love that keeps Iestyn coming back. All of which points to an exciting and positive future for us all.

Willie Shackell
Grand Secretary

‘Thank you for your efforts in getting people to vote for the recipients of 300 grants totalling £3 million’

Published in UGLE
Friday, 30 September 2016 11:09

Grand Ball tickets sell out in two minutes!

All 1,200 tickets for the Grand Ball on 30th September 2017 sold out this morning within two minutes.

So high was the demand that organisers actually checked with the ticketing website, Ticket Tailor, that this was indeed the case.

Members who were unsuccessful in securing tickets have been urged to join the waiting list, so that they can be offered any tickets that are returned.

Published in More News
Wednesday, 14 September 2016 09:37

Deputy Grand Master's address - September 2016

Quarterly Communication

14 September 2016 
An address by the RW Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence

Brethren, I am delighted to see so many of you here today and I hope you have all had a suitably refreshing summer. I am particularly pleased to see a large number of younger masons amongst us, especially the delegations from the Provinces of Cambridgeshire and Durham, members of the Universities Scheme and especially those of the Apollo University Lodge in Oxford.

Many of you will be aware of the excellent work undertaken by the Membership Focus Group over the last two and a half years. I hope that you are all still referring to the UGLE strategy, which was a significant development resulting from the group’s work. 

We have now moved to ensuring the timely implementation of the strategy and the Membership Focus Group has been superseded by the Improvement Delivery Group. This group will, rather like a well- known wood treatment product, “do exactly what it says on the tin”. Its remit is to facilitate the delivery of change throughout the Craft in order to secure a successful future for Freemasonry by meeting the needs of “modern man” while retaining our traditional standards; it is chaired by the Assistant Grand Master, the Third Grand Principal is Deputy Chairman and the membership is drawn from London and all the regional groups of Provinces. 

This group will be “bedding in” for the next year, but will be reporting to Grand Lodge at the Quarterly Communication in September 2017. There is a considerable amount of work to do and we wish them all well in their endeavours.

Brethren, the Tercentenary celebrations have already begun and I am very pleased to see the variety and breadth of events that are planned to mark this significant milestone in our history. Events are being planned throughout the English Constitution. 

So far well over 100 events are scheduled ranging from Cathedral Services, Race Meetings, and Classic Car Rallies; Family Fun Weekends, supporting Youth Activities, to Dinners and Balls, including “The Grand Ball” which will take place here next September and will see this Grand Temple converted into one of the largest dance floors in LondAs the premier Grand Lodge it is appropriate we also celebrate this achievement with the other Sovereign Grand Lodges around the world, which we will do with the event at the Royal Albert Hall. I very much hope there will be a full cross section of our membership, including Master Masons, from London, Provinces and Districts and elsewhere overseas attending the meeting at the Royal Albert Hall.

As you are all aware 2017 will start with the broadcast in January of the Sky observational documentary.  I have been fortunate enough to have been part of the small group that has seen all the programmes and whilst, for confidential reasons, I am unable to say more about their content, I can assure you our privacy has been respected entirely for those matters that ought to remain private for our members.

Brethren, it has become very noticeable that the times in which we live are described with some use of either uncertain or uncertainty, or a variation thereof. Uncertainty is used to describe many aspects of our national life almost as a default mechanism. In many ways our predecessors who were there at the foundation of the Grand Lodge would have felt a certain affinity and seen possible parallels with their own time, although they would probably have used the word turbulent to describe the second decade of the eighteenth century.

In their case the uncertain times included significant change with a new ruling dynasty following the accession of King George I in 1714, a significant rebellion from supporters of the old dynasty defeated in 1715 and an incipient share scandal with the South Sea Bubble gently inflating until the spectacular bust. In those and, indeed , in the intervening uncertain times of the subsequent three hundred years, the principles of the Craft have withstood the test of time and are as relevant today as they were then. 

We may now restate them in more modern language as integrity; honesty; fairness; kindness and tolerance, but their essence is unchanged and we should all be justly proud of them and, needless to say, act in accordance with them. 

To finish, I will quote King Frederick II, or The Great, of Prussia who said his support of the Craft came from its objectives being, “ the intellectual elevation of men as members of society and making them more virtuous and more charitable”. I do not think that his view can be bettered. 

 

Published in Speeches

Tickets for Tercentenary Grand Ball to go on sale in September

Dear Sir and Brother,

We are writing to inform you of a most exciting event planned for the celebrations of the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England in 2017: The Grand Ball. On Saturday 30th September 2017, our home, Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen Street, London, will be transformed into the venue for The Grand Ball.

This will be the highlight of the social calendar for the Tercentenary celebrations, but will also be an opportunity for brethren of any rank, and from all Provinces and Districts, to be present at one of the official UGLE celebrations with their families and friends.

The evening will commence at 8.30pm with a Champagne reception, and finish with bacon sandwiches for the survivors at 3am! It will be a suitably grand event to befit the 300th anniversary of the institution, and is being generously supported and subsidised by UGLE, enabling our iconic building to be beautifully prepared, and food and drinks to be available throughout the night – all included in the ticket price of £160 per person.

Various entertainments will be placed in several different areas of the building, including the Grand Temple, which will be transformed into one of the largest raised dance floors in London. There will be considerable variety, including a big band, a jazz group, a ceilidh, discos (both ‘silent’ and noisy), and quieter rooms to enjoy a glass of wine and chat to your guests.

Although there will be plentiful and varied food available throughout the night, there is not a formal dinner. However, we will be looking into offering deals at local restaurants for those brethren who wish to dine beforehand with their guests. We are also attempting to arrange deals in nearby hotels, so that you are able to spend what is left of the night (or weekend) in comfortable surroundings.

We can promise all those who attend a fabulous night, and are hoping to welcome brethren and guests from across the country, and from other countries. We would therefore be grateful if you could distribute this as widely as possible across your Provinces and Districts, and encourage all those that can attend to do so.

Tickets will go on sale via the website (www.thegrandball.uk) at 9am on Friday 30th September 2016 (exactly a year before the Ball), and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis so that everyone has an opportunity to buy tickets. Even though there will be up to 1,500 tickets available, we expect demand to be high – so early booking will be essential.

Please do encourage brethren to sign up to our mailing list via the website to ensure they are kept up to date with all our planning and preparation in the coming months – and so they don’t miss out when ticket sales commence! There is also a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thegrandball) and a Twitter account (www.twitter.com/grandball2017) which you can like and follow for updates.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We look forward to seeing you at the Ball!

Yours sincerely and fraternally,

The Grand Ball Committee

A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

Published in More News

ugle logo          SGC logo